Kieswetter finds T20 form to assist Somerset in Championship
Craig Kieswetter’s first century in the LV= County Championship for 13 months helped Somerset to a total of 340 on the first day of their Division One clash with under-strength Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Kieswetter, out of the England limited overs team since touring India last winter, may have put himself back on the radar in scoring 148 from 192 balls, a typically bold innings in which he was dropped twice.
This could be as crucial to Somerset in their relegation battle as it is to their 25-year-old wicketkeeper as he attempts to revive his international career.
Having lost his place in England’s one-day squad to county team-mate Jos Buttler, he missed nearly two months of the season because of injury but made a barnstorming comeback as the top batsman in the Friends Life t20 tournament. Scoring 517 runs in 11 innings, he posted five half-centuries, one of which clearing Somerset’s passage to the quarter-finals on his last visit to Edgbaston three weeks ago.
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He made a century in Birmingham for England Lions against Australia A last August and delivered again as he took 17 fours and three sixes off a depleted attack.
Somerset could not have chosen a better time to meet a Warwickshire team missing three seamers, Chris Woakes and Boyd Rankin because of international calls, and Chris Wright through injury.
The champions are also without captain Jim Troughton and when Marcus Trescothick won the toss for Somerset, he may have seized a decisive advantage on a much-used pitch.
The same strip had already yielded 1,354 runs, starting with three matches on Twenty20 finals day on Saturday and continuing with a Yorkshire Bank 40 fixture on Monday.
Until Kieswetter went to work in the afternoon, Somerset looked a nervy side in losing three wickets for 65.
Nick Compton padded up to Keith Barker, Chris Jones gave a catch to gully off Tom Milnes and although Trescothick found some form with 46, he was taken at slip from Jeetan Patel’s third delivery.
A rash shot off Milnes cost James Hildreth (33) his wicket, but ultimately Warwickshire were left to rue the chances that got away from Kieswetter, on 22 at first slip and on 74 at backward point.
Championship newcomer Recordo Gordon was the unlucky bowler on the second occasion and two balls later Alex Barrow was missed at backward square-leg.
Barrow settled down to make 43 in a partnership of 119 before Patel took two wickets in an over. Disappointing for Somerset at the time but encouraging for their two spinners, George Dockrell and the newly signed Piyush Chawla.
The new ball accounted for Kieswetter when he was caught behind as Barker and Rikki Clarke cleaned out the last four wickets as Somerset collapsed from 321 for six to 340 all out.
With one over remaining in the day, the home side sent out nightwatchman Gordon to play out a maiden from Dockrell.